Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen Grady and Claire Dearing return to the island of Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano that’s about to erupt but soon uncover a conspiracy that will change the fate of the dinosaurs forever.

Opening with the Mosasaurus destroying a submersible and a Tyrannosaurus attack, J.A. Bayona’s direction is on point as he handles the mammoth film effortlessly. At first Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom appears to improve the ethical conundrums of bringing dinosaurs back to life, building on themes touched on in Spielberg’s 1993 original and the novel source material. However, things take a major turn in the second act.

This instalment offers an impressive (but distracting) CGI loaded destruction of Isla Nublar’s Jurassic Park/World after the eruption. This setup includes a select few of the de-extinct dinosaurs being ‘saved’ only to be used for corporate gain with echoes of The Lost World. Still, the tone shifts to a Halloween-like dark place and Fallen Kingdom becomes a stalker in a mansion, cat and mouse type film.

The latter half offers some serious nightmares for younger viewers and possibly leaves fans of the outdoors feel of its predecessors scratching their heads. While the second half is a brave shift in terms of setting and tone the philosophical points, mostly from an Ian (Jeff Goldblum’s) cameo, are interesting but the message simply feels off and doesn’t really take Kingdom forward.

In amongst the tense well staged action packed set pieces, (drowning in a Gyrosphere springs to mind) and genuinely thrilling moments there are too many unscrupulous cartoon like villains, even more so than its predecessor. Namely Toby Jones Lockwood Estate auctioneer host, unprincipled Dr. Henry Wu (B. D. Wong returns) and there’s corrupt Rafe Spall’s Murder She Wrote-like killer Eli Mills. James Cromwell Sir Benjamin Lockwood, John Hammond’s former partner accent is as out of place as the cloning Scooby doo subplot twist which leads nowhere. On the flipside both Chris Pratt’s Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard’s Dearing are on form and much better performance wise here. Also notable is Ted Levine’s Ken Wheatley, a seasoned mercenary who has a memorable scene with the a newly created dino, part Indominus rex and a Velociraptor, the sociopathic Indoraptor! Trained Blue’s storyline and purpose is never fulfilled, the raptors ‘emotional’ DNA is never used as the weaponised pro-type goes on a hunt through the estate for our heroes and a young girl.

Kingdom returns to the thrills and scares which the first delivered but through no fault of Bayona, over four films, the novelty and wonder has faded. With a post credit scene setting up another sequel you can’t but think that, even with the change of direction, the Jurassic series should be left in Amber.

The Final Version is the third book I’ve had published; my first was a zombie chiller and the second was a vampire horror novel, and was better received reaching #13 in the fantasy horror chart. The Final Version is the first novel I draft, even though released third. I, who never in the first 30 odd years of my life, ever imagined would write one word for publication. I never could have predicted it would reach #12 in the charts.

Yesterday, while prepping my next novel Darkest Moons (out October 2016) I looked over The Final Version digital eBook edition which is available is on Amazon (shameless plug). After rereading some of it was one of the strangest experiences of my life. I didn’t recognise half of what I’d written. Had no recollection of writing it. “Where did those words come from?” I questioned. “Who did they come from?” All I can figure is I went into some kind of writer’s trance. There’s a Bladerunner feel, but a plastic and neon one in and in contrast to crowded over population there’s an emptiness, loneliness where people have buildings to themselves and go about there business under big brother’s eye. The suburbs are different again, policed ravaged and dangerous.

But what came out is something that makes me laugh today after UKs decision to leave the EU because of the way the political landscape in the World especially the shift in UK and USA, which echoes in the  subtext of the novel’s backdrop. The Final Version, centres around a hearty mix of cyberpunk, DNA, A.I. Robots and Cloning, but its also a post war story of sorts, a warning if you like – which I hope doesn’t come to pass. Where the elite chose not to revive their fellow people (in cryo status), to keep power and resource across the remaining cities to themselves. Of course there’s assassinations, conspiracy, but never more has a piece of fiction I’ve written become a step closer to reality not just with DNA, advancements in technology and transatlantic travel but the blurred warped political agendas and unity of humankind.

For less than a coffee check out the future… Are you unique or simply the final version?

Amazon The Final Version

The Final Version Trailer

One of the greatest action adventurers ever! Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. a character created by Starwars director George Lucas as a homage to the action heroes of 1930s film serials. Indy first appeared in the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), and was amazingly played by Harrison Ford. Since then he’s portayed him in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) all of which directed by Steven Spielberg.

There’s something cool and fascinating about character, the bullwhip, the Fedora and leather jacket. His sense of humour, deep knowledge of ancient civilisations and languages. But his flaws are interesting too, his fear of snakes, commitment and so on.

Indiana Jones remains one of cinema’s most revered movie characters and made Harrison a worldwide star. You could say the character has become bigger than the films themselves. Although the above is nothing new to fans, I hope it’ll draw those in who haven’t seen these films. Below are my thoughts on Indiana’s feature film adventures to date.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Archaeologist and adventurer, Indiana Jones must find the Ark of the Convent before Hitler’s Army can use its powers to destroy their enemies.

George Lucas’ story is extraordinary (now) set between Temple and Last Crusade, Raiders is a fantastic piece of cinema, a perfect mix of action, adventure and humour, wonderfully directed by Steven Spielberg. It’s perfectly written by Lawrence Kasdan.

Shot on many locations and painstakingly created sets it has a grittiness and ground feel that adds to the believability. The cast are also excellent and John Williams infamous theme is used a just the right times and the score is very stirring. Harrison Ford is ideal as whip cracking, hat donned, fist fighting, Indiana Jones who is aided on his adventure by feisty ex-girl friend Marion Ravenwood play by Karen Allen. The cast include John Rhys-Davies, Denholm Elliott, Alfred Molina and Paul Freeman gives a memorable performance as Dr. René Belloq.

It has an abundance of great characters and scenes, notably the opening where Indie must flee with an idol, the truck chase, a fight around a moving plane and navigating his way through a room full of snakes.

It’s a true adventure film that has been often imitated but never surpassed. A must see.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

After a diamond exchange goes awry and a plane crash-lands in India, Indiana Jones decides to help a fraught village to find it’s stolen children and mystical stones.

With dated effects and a problematic shoot, Harrison injured his back much of the action was undertaken by veteran stuntman Vic Armstrong, it’s still an adequate Indy adventure.

Clearly mostly filmed on sound stages it lacks the gritiness of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Characters like Sallah, Ravenwood and Brody are sorely missed and the viewer is quickly forced to fall in love with the new leads, Kate Capshaw and Jonathan Ke Quan. Quan is good fun but the film looses it’s edge due to the Goonies actors round house kicks and wise cracks. That said, some of the dialogue shindigs between him and Indy are quite well executed. Capshaw is fine when she’s not screaming but is very theatrical.

Harrison Ford is again excellent as Indiana Jones and although set before Raiders appears less intelligent when donning the hat and whip, an almost reverse Superman Clark Kent character issues due to Willard Huyck & Gloria Katz screenplay.

George Lucas story is decent and incorrectly slated for being dark, but Raiders was and equally dark, brawls, shootouts, ghosts, Nazis’ and a poisoned monkey to same a few. If anything there’s too much comedy in Temple. However, when Indy is serious, in conversation to the villagers, playing politics, cultural differences and fighting Mola Ram (Amrish Puri) guards it’s good sincere fun.

Unfortunalty, the script is so unbalanced it doesn’t surpass or equal its predecessor, falling short of a classic adventure. That said, the costumes and stunt are great. With John Williams legendary score, an amazing musical number to open the film and some fantastic set pieces Temple of Doom is enjoyable enough.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Dumping the set-like feel of Temple of Doom and going for location shoot of Raiders Steven Spielberg’s vision looks fantastic. There’s no denying that some of the effects have dated and Jeffrey Boam’s script a little heavy on the comedy, but George Lucas and Menno Meyjes story is exciting and intricate. In this quest Indiana Jones must rescue his kidnapped father and stop the Nazis that are in search of the Holy Grail.

Although a little forced the cute flash back opening has exciting gusto as you see the influences on young Indy (played by River Phoenix) that turned him into Indiana the man.

The casting is note worthy, Alison Doody as Dr. Elsa Schneider is wonderful, playing the perfect Austrian (even though she’s Irish). Harrison Ford is once again flawless in the title role, a part that he was made for. Sean Connery is exceptional as Indy’s father and familiar faces return including John Rhys-Davies’ Sallah and Denholm Elliott’s Marcus Brody. My only complaint is that Brody’s character is far more comical than he comes across in the first adventure.

With John Williams familiar fantastic score, coupled with globe trotting adventure and action set pieces galore, Last Crusade is an exciting must see classic.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

As a fan it’s a mixed bag, to anyone one else a fantastic piece of entertainment.

The downside of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is that it has the set type feel of the second film, as oppose to the location feel of the first and third Indy adventure. John Hurt is wasted as the gibbering wreck Professor Oxley and Ray Winstone although humorous is given a clichéd stereotype side kick role. Karen Allen again plays Marion Ravenwood but doesn’t get enough to do. Also there’s not enough meaty dialogue too fill in-between the action sequences that are bogged down with CGI.

The good stuff – Despite Cate Blanchett’s ever changing Russian accent as Irina Spalko she gives a great physical performance. Even though Mr Ford has aged, the story accommodates the 19 year gap since the last film. Shia LaBeouf as Mutt Williams is surprisingly great and has the charisma to carry the series into new adventures. John Williams score is flawless as usual and Fords performance as an aged adventurer continues to capture the imagination.

Overall, even with over cooked ending, written by George Lucas (story), is balanced by the great performance of Harrison Ford, as Indiana Jones, under Steven Spielbergs direction. Get the hat and whip ready – hopefully there’ll be another adventure soon!
Ever heard of Jonathan Ryder and Michael Shepherd? How about Robert Ludlum, the former are his pseudonyms. Ludlum has sold an estimated 290-500 million books, but more so for me he is the creator of Jason Bourne.
 
Sadly, aged 73,Robert Ludlum died 12 March 2001 during the development stage of Bourne Identity and only saw the TV version that aired in 1988 starring ageing Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith. While it was closer to Ludlum’s novel it had it dated badly and his Jason Bourne character needed an update, allegedly the charismatic author acknowledged this and was complementary of the changes and style proposed for the Doug Liman’s Bourne.
 
The film would send ripples across the movie world and wake up producers and influenced moviemakers. As a result good old James Bond was given a make over and action scenes would never be film the same again.
Below are my thoughts on the Bourne films, the legacy Ludlum left us…
 
The Bourne Identity (2002)
 
Thanks to Bourne, Bond was given that update make-over that was needed. Although a loose adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s novel it’s a far superior to closer rework The Bourne Identity (1988) TV movie starring Richard Chamberlain and ‘Angel’ Jaclyn Smith.
 
Matt Damon’s does a surprisingly great job, not just as Jason Bourne the character but against type cast, convincing the viewer that he’s a dangerous and physical spy. While the Bourne Identity is action packed with some fantastic fight choreography and car chases it feels realistically grounded as an effective espionage thriller.
 
The captivating screenplay by Tony Gilroy and W. Blake Herron gives the cast time to shine. Franka Potente Brian Cox and Chris Cooper are all on fine form and there’s also a small, memorable role by Clive Owen as an assassin.
The films has a great look and benefits from the real life European locations, Doug Liman’s direction is exceptional utilising a hand held style that has become common place in mainstream films since. The score is exciting and Moby’s theme tune is captivating, for such a high concept film Bourne Identity is very convincing,- it avoids clichés, has some twists and exudes atmosphere.
 
The Bourne Identity is must see.
 
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
 
In this action packed follow up Bourne is framed and is forced to take up his former life as an assassin to survive. The Bourne Supremacy is a gutsy squeal to The Bourne Identity (2002) using the character based on an adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s best selling novel. Paul Greengrass takes over the directing reins for Supremacy, while previous director Doug Liman’s takes a producer credit. Greengrass maybe a little over zealous with the hand-held camera work, but continues the series more than effectively, successfully injecting some more energy into proceedings. In some ways the story is more interesting and complex than the first, again Tony Gilroy ‘s amazing screenplay avoids the clichés, dishing-out plenty of surprises and a major plot turning in the first minutes.
 
Brian Cox reprises his role as Ward Abbott and his character goes though some changes as the predicament and pressure he’s under increases. Like Identity there’s some fantastic fight choreography notably when Bourne, again played fittingly by Matt Damon, goes head to head with Jarda played by the understated excellent actor Marton Csokas. Julia Stiles returns as Nicky and new comer to the Bourne series Joan Allen as Pamela Landy is convincing. The cast are all first-rate including, Karl Urban of Star Trek and The Two Towers fame, as the Russian killer Kirill.
 
The ending leaves an upbeat intrigue that few films of this genre manage to stir. The Bourne Supremacy has a great look and again benefits from the real on location feel coupled with a complimenting score by John Powell, which leaves you wanting more of the same.
 
It’s intelligent and captivating, packed with car chases, assassins and political conspiracy. Damon again is Bourne this time deeper and more dangerous. The perfect sequel.
 
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
 
Director Paul Greengrass for this instalment Ultimatum picks up (before!) where he last on left off in Supremacy. It sharp, slick and entertaining rightly winning three Oscars.
 
Although loosely based on Robert Ludlum novels, close friends of his are convinced that he would have enjoyed these film as much as the viewers have had watching them. Again with great directing, fantastic gritty and atmospheric on location shooting, which includes a remarkably key sequence in London it doesn’t fell like a third film. Bourne again has to evade, out-manoeuvre, and outsmart highly-trained agents and assassins, while it might sound like old ground, Ultimatum comes with plenty of new surprises.
Like it’s predecessors it zips along at a fast pace with exceptional stunts and gripping dialogue. You know you’re in good hands when the original writer Tony Gilroy is still on board and Matt Damon returns as Jason Bourne.
Albert Finney puts in a nice cameo appearance as Dr. Albert Hirsch who is partly responsible for origins of Treadstone and Bourne’s training. Although Brian Cox as protagonist Ward Abbott is sorely, but rightly missing, there’s enough unscrupulous officials played by seasoned actors Scott Glenn, Kramer, and David Strathairn who excellently portrays Noah Vosen to fill the gap. Julia Stiles returns as Nicky Parsons in a meatier role and Joan Allen once again superbly plays Pam Landy.
 
It’s has a gripping final act and once again the ended is exhilarating and emotionally stirring. It’s grounded, it’s understated it’s Bourne.

Exclusive, Clips on wordpress! Two Previews of  Terminus Coming soon from Innerface Films Directed by Sean Parsons, Starring Katherine DuBois. Visit: http://www.terminusfilm.co.cc http://www.innerfacefilms.com Written by Sean Parsons losely based on an A.M. Esmonde Breathing Dead Novel.